U.S. Supreme Court Makes Corporations Supreme, People Mere Monkeys
If you had any doubt about the corruption that has infected the very bloodstream of American politics, look at today’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court said corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence the outcome of elections.
I’m gonna repeat my sad joke: we are approaching the time when there will be “corporate creationists” so convinced of the divine status of the corporate life-form that they will deny vehemently that corporations evolved from human beings. Americans, we are the new monkeys.
At the root of the Court’s attack on popular democracy — and it is an attack, and it will promote if not guarantee rule by unaccountable corporate oligarchy — is the Court’s infamous 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision that said money equals speech. Left unaddressed in today’s decision — and others — is the absurdity of this formula. When money equals speech, outfits with more money have more speech. And that destroys the very principle of free speech. [In Full]
US President Barack Obama proposed new banking rules [statement; press release] Thursday that he claims would stabilize the banking system and reduce the risk of future bank failures. The legislation [Washington Post report] would prohibit banks from owning, investing or sponsoring hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading funds for profit where the funds do not benefit the banks' customers. Obama termed this rule the "Volcker Rule" after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker [official profile], who stood behind Obama during Thursday's announcement. The second part of Obama's proposed legislation would prohibit future consolidation between banks to prevent any one bank or small group of banks from having a disproportionate, and potentially negative, impact on the economy. Obama emphasized his commitment to banking reform, stating...[In Full]
With aid now flowing more freely, attention is turning to the plight of Haiti's nearly 1 million new homeless. There are reports that the government plans to move as many as 400,000 people to tent villages being set up on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The tents will not be habitable by May when Haiti's hurricane season starts, but aid groups say they have little choice at this point.Squatter City on the subject:
The U.S. Navy is also setting up tents at its base in Guantanamo Bay, preparing for a possible influx of Haitians. The base is currently being used as a staging ground for aid flights into the country. [In Full]
The Independent offers a clear-eyed view of the situation in the notorious Port-au-Prince shantytown.
"We don't have doctors, we don't have food, we don't have water," said Louis Jean Jaris, a 29-year-old resident. "The aid comes to Haiti, but it goes elsewhere. In Cité Soleil we are all victims, just like everyone else, but compared to the rest of the country, we are a low priority. To the people in power, we are not considered to be victims."
Black Hawk helicopters were thundering overhead yesterday, taking aid from the airport to desperate survivors. But the shanty town does not have an official food aid distribution post, and only one small water truck was to be found on the streets, surrounded by a fractious crowd.
Small amounts of supplies are of course available, to those who have money. But Cité Soleil's biggest employer, a garment factory, has yet to reopen, and most locals are instead forced to walk miles into central Port-au-Prince in search of handouts. So far, the dysfunctional international aid effort means they are very lucky to find any.
One significant thing the article doesn't say: whether Cité Soleil experienced much destruction due to the quake. There's no doubt that the people there are victims, just like everyone else, but I wonder if the smaller-scale structures of the squatter community were extensively damaged. [In Full]
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